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Promoting A Film Is The Worst Part Of Making A Film

Subhash K . Jha

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How do they do it? The stars and  the  directors, answering  the same  mundane questions  over and over again while promoting their film?  It  seems like  an ordeal equivalent to having your  tooth extracted  without anesthesia.

 But  it can’t be helped. The rot had set  in. If  you have a release  coming up, you have to promote it. Thimeans  visiting shopping malls to blow kisses and dance with your  co-star, and  indulging in extended Q & A sessions with the media who take this opportunity to gain access to stars otherwise denied to them, to ask about matters that have  no bearing on  the movie  being promoted.

If you are Saif Ali Khan and  you are promoting Sacred Games  you may be asked  about your  little son  Taimur. If are Rishi Kapoor promoting your  relevant new release Mulk you may be bombarded with irrelevant  questions on Ranbir Kapoor.And mind you,  it won’t be about Ranbir’s career alone.  It could be  or Alia Bhatt.They could also throw in a question or two about Rishi’s dead departed mother. And if he loses his temper he is branded  a boor.

Rishi Kapoor knows how to handle the inquisitive media. He simply shuts up the  offending  journalist with his wrath. Not every actor  can do that. Hence most of them  simply  go through  with it crossing their fingers.

Anubhav Sinha  who recently  promoted the  well-received  Mulk  did not waste  his time and  energy patiently answering questions on…well…on everything from Tapsee Pannu’s  supposed beau to Prateik Babbar’s fiancée. They answer. Oh yes, they do.But not with the same  grace with which you see  Tom Cruise and  his team negotiating  dozens   of interviews  for Mission Impossible, or Sandra  Bullock and her co-stars promoting Oceans 8.Or Meryl  Streep and Cher promoting the sumptuous musical Mamma Mia Here We  Again. Every time Cher  was asked how she agreed to come  on board she answered  with the same incident when she  received a  call from  the  producer . But it sounded different each time.

I have seen  Cruise saying the same  thing over and over again in interviews done in a loop.Every time he makes the same anecdote  sound different  and exciting as if it was the first time the  question had  come up.

Indian entertainers  largely lack the discipline, humour and generosity  of spirit of their Hollywood counterpart. During the last two weeks I’ve seen Tom Cruise deep skydiving with a British talk-show host  and simulate  stunts on the  sets  of another British talk-show  host. Not once did his  smile waver.Not for a second did he look bored while answering repeatedly what it was like to shoot the helicopter stunt.

Anubhav Sinha  lost patience when a media person at  press conference called him by a name other than Anubhav.

“Go , do your homework.You don’t even know my name. I am not talking to you,” sulked  Anubhav.

Not  done. Agreed the  average  media bloke today can’t even put forward  Deepika Padukone’s  career history. But  if you expect every mediaperson to do homework on your achievements then  you must also be conscious of  the fact that you are not doing the newshounds any favour by being there.

 Both the parties are doing their jobs, albeit shoddily sometimes . Though it takes  a  bit more time for the  promoter’s  caliber to come out. By the time  a film releases the  media no longer  needs to be pampered.So you guys ask questions like, “What does Taimur have  to say about Sacred Games” and “When are  you going to be in a  Gol Maal film?” at  your own risk.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui who has  been promoting  Manto till his jaws drop and his legs collapse says it’s a killingly gruelling job. “I am doing the same  thing over and over again, selling an idea that the average  Indian movie viewer is not familiar with.  It is essentially Saadat Hasan Manto  I am recommending to  a  public that  knows Nawazuddin Siddiqui. ‘Don’t look at me, look at Manto,’ is my mantra. Not a  very easy job.”

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